July 29, 2008
Karen Farkas, Plain Dealer Reporter
Akron- A Summit County sheriff's deputy, charged with murder in the death of a mentally ill jail inmate, went on trial Monday.
Prosecutors maintain Stephen Krendick stomped five or six times on Mark McCullaugh's head and sprayed his naked body with a can of pepper spray while McCullaugh was hog-tied, which contributed to his death. Kendrick also stunned McCullaugh several times with a Taser.
A forensic pathologist is expected to testify that McCullaugh died of asphyxia. The theory is that the pepper spray made his airway swell, the hog-tie restraint put pressure on his heart, and the stun gun's electrical charges caused muscle contractions that made it hard for him to breathe, prosecutors said.
Krendick's attorneys maintain that their client used the force necessary to restrain McCullaugh during a violent struggle. They said the 6-foot-2, 290-pound inmate died of heart failure from excited delirium due to his untreated psychiatric illness.
Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler had ruled McCullaugh's death a homicide caused by asphyxiation but was ordered to change the ruling to "undetermined" by a judge in another case involving the death of McCullaugh and two other men who were shot by stun guns.
Krendick, one of five deputies charged in McCullaugh's death, faces the most serious charge. His case is being heard by visiting Judge H.F. Inderlied. Cuyahoga County prosecutors are handling the case.
McCullaugh, 28, was jailed Aug. 8, 2006, after assaulting an Akron police officer. On Aug. 20, deputies were called to restrain him so he could be given medication after he got naked, defecated and wrote on his cell walls with blood, according to court documents. The deputies were charged after a year-long investigation.
Prosecutors will ask Inderlied to consider an involuntary-manslaughter or reckless-homicide conviction if he thinks the evidence does not prove murder, according to court documents.
Inderlied viewed the jail cell Monday and began hearing testimony. The case in Summit County Common Pleas Court is expected to take as long as two weeks because each side is prepared to call numerous medical experts.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
July 29, 2008